Crowdfunding Underway for Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill

Rendering of proposed Alex Nieto memorial on Bernal Hill (Source: gofundme)

A crowdfunding effort is currently underway to finance a memorial for Bernal neighbor Alex Nieto, who was killed during a confrontation with San Francisco police officers in March 2014.

Launched by friends and family of Alex Nieto, the crowdfunding campaign says:

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ voted 9 to 1 in favor of the “Amor for Alex Nieto Memorial,” which means that this ordinance is veto proof from the Mayor. We will transform history with this powerful monument.

For Alex Nieto, for our community, we fought this fight, and we won the first memorial ever in California dedicated to a victim of a police killing. We held our dignity and proved to the world how we argue better and action more creatively and courageously than anyone ever could imagine.

Once the memorial is established, community members will hike up to that mountain and pray like Alex did and look out over the beautiful view of San Francisco and be inspired by our community resilience. Students will travel up to that hill for field trips and to learn about the history and creativity of our community; they will write thousands of educational essays. Families will pilgrimage hands together and love each other at the place where Alex breathed his last breath. This will be a place of peace, of inspiration and amor.

Bernal neighbors who would like to contribute to the memorial campaign may do so here. At publication time, the campaign has raised $2500 of a $40,000 goal.

Alex Nieto lived on Cortland Avenue with his parents, Elvira and Refugio Nieto. He was killed during a March 21, 2014 confrontation,  during which police alleged Alex Nieto pointed a weapon that looked like a handgun.

A San Francisco District Attorney investigation of the incident concluded that police acted lawfully during the incident, and during a subsequent wrongful death suit initiated by the Nieto family, a jury ruled the SFPD officers involved in the incident had not used excessive force.

Friends and family of Alex Nieto maintain his death was a byproduct of gentrification. In 2016 , then-San Francisco supervisors John Avalos and David Campos passed an ordinance directing the City to install a memorial for Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill.

Body of Fatally Stabbed Man Found on Bernal Hill

Bernal Hill is closed this morning as the SFPD investigates an apparent homicide.

According to media reports from ABC7,  The Examiner, and SFGate, the body of a man who had been fatally stabbed was found on  Bernal Hill at about 5:30 this morning. The body was discovered on the south side of Bernal Hill, just inside the Anderson Street gate.

SFGate reports:

A person taking a stroll in the park discovered the body and called police about 5:30 a.m., said Sgt. Michael Andraychak of the San Francisco Police Department.

“Officers responded and found a male victim. He was suffering from apparent stab wounds,” Andraychak said.

Paramedics went to the scene and declared the victim dead.

Bernalwood has been in contact with the neighbor who first discovered the body. He says:

The body was found at around 5:15am this morning at Bernal Park, on Bernal Hts Blvd where the path to Bocana starts. Grossly mutilated body with stab wounds. It was gruesome. No witnesses.

There has been a lot of crime, often violent recently on Bernal Hill. It’s about time we disallow overnight parking from 2am to 6am between Anderson to Carver. Since the city has banned overnight parking in other parts of The City, much of it now comes to Bernal. People sleeping in cars, illegal dumping, prostitution. I’ve seen it all.

Video footage captured by NBC Bay Area appears to show a camouflaged knife sheath found on the scene:

The Examiner adds:

Anyone with information is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Bernalwood will update this story as additional details become available.

UPDATE, 10:30 am: D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen will hold a community meeting on Wednesday, May 31 at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center at 6 pm to discuss this incident. Ronen says:

Early this morning a man who had been stabbed to death was found by a jogger in Bernal Heights Park. While little information is known at this time, the police do not believe the killing was random. Extra patrols will be in and around the park. Captain McFadden and I will be hosting a community meeting on Wednesday May 31st at 6:00 pm at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center on Cortland to discuss what is known about this tragic murder and public safety concerns in the community.

PHOTO: Top, The crime scene on Bernal Hill this morning. Photo via Amy Hollyfield of ABC7 News.

Bernal Coyote Hit By Car, But Recovers Quickly

Last Sunday, the Bernal Coyote was hit by a car on Bernal Heights Boulevard. Ack! That’s the bad news. The good news, according to San Francisco coyote-whisperer Janet Kessler, is that the coyote wasn’t badly injured. Janet tells Bernalwood:

These days the Bernal Coyote has been spending the bulk of her time hunting now instead of panhandling. She still travels up the street and still sometimes approaches cars, however much less frequently than previously. Removing the garbage and food left on the street each morning and talking to people seem to be paying off.

On Sunday a neighbor told me the coyote had been hit by a car.

I spotted the coyote on the hill and immediately noticed something wrong: Something wasn’t right with her balance, and she lay down and closed her eyes. That wasn’t normal behavior for this time of day for her. IF she lies down in the morning, her head bobs up continually as she scans the environment. But on Sunday she wasn’t doing this.

Then a dog found her and chased her and the coyote ran off as best she could, but she tumbled head over heels down the embankment with her limbs flying in all directions. Finally she reached the street and stood there. She was able to trot several hundred feet further down the road, but she was stiff, and her body kept buckling under her:

She was able to catch herself and not fall to the ground. She probably couldn’t keep trotting, possibly because of the pain, so she chose the closest safe-place around, which was up.  She made it up the cliff, wobbling and buckling at several points, but not falling. Then she settled down at the top of the hill, mostly hidden by the grasses.

We called Animal Care and Control (ACC) and they sent one person out.

That wasn’t enough to catch a coyote, so he called two more people out. Unfortunately they were not effective and the coyote ran off and was able to evade them. ACC would not try again, saying that she was *mobile* so they were going to leave it.

The next day, I saw her walking on the sidewalk and hunting by herself, She was limping a little on her back leg, but I also saw saw her leap high during her hunt. She’ll be fine. I think she is healing on her own quite well.

PHOTO: Bernal Coyote the day after the accident, courtesy of Janet Kessler from Coyote Yipps

Bernal Coyote Scared But Safe After Close Call With Dog

Bernal Coyote, hiding in a thicket after the chase. Photo by Janet Kessler

The coyote that lives on Bernal Hill had a close call last week, after a domesticated dog decided to chase her. The ensuing scene was so loud and chaotic that several readers wrote to tell Bernalwood about it, so we in turn reached out to San Francisco coyote-whisperer Janet Kessler to see if he had any information about the incident.

Providentially, Janet was on the scene when the dog chased the Bernal Coyote, and Janet shared this report:

The coyote had just spent a few moments on a peaceful grassy perch where she was observing the urban world as she knew it: the large city below and the dog walkers on and off the trails of a grassy park higher up. She got up to wander around the hillside when suddenly a dog caught sight of her and was after her in a flash — it was a large, golden retriever-like dog.

The coyote ran lickety-split away from the dog, into the street with the dog right at her heels. In the street, of course, both coyote and dog are endangered by traffic, but fortunately cars were sparse at that moment. Having flown across the street, the coyote dashed into the thicket on the other side of the street. Thickets serve as harborage for our wild coyotes, especially from dogs and people. It’s where they can rest and relax without being seen, and when the thickets are impenetrable, coyotes feel safe. Dogs usually can’t, or have difficulty, venturing into these thickets, so the dog remained on the street where the owner was able to grab it.

In the thicket, with her eyes glued in the direction of the dog, the little coyote vented her distress. She remained there and screeched her heart out for 20 minutes, looking over her shoulder now and then as dogs, people and loud traffic moved by on the next street. This is what she sounded like:

When she was done, she got up and walked away. I followed the coyote to make sure she wasn’t injured. I knew the dog hadn’t reached her, so she would have no injuries from his/her mouth. It wasn’t an “attack” but simply a harrowing “pursuit”. Still, I’ve seen coyotes injured in the past as they fled pursuing dogs. One such coyote limped for days, having twisted or injured an ankle or wrist in its hurry to get away. Luckily, the Bernal coyote displayed no signs of any injuries.

I also spoke to a dog-walker, Patrice, who said she had witnessed two motor scooters pursuing this same little coyote up and down the streets several weeks ago. It must have been another harrowing experience for the coyote. Did these humans not know how cruel they were being? What might be considered fun and games for us and our dogs is actually a matter of life and death for this little coyote. Please help stop this kind of activity whenever you notice it!

PHOTO AND VIDEO: Courtesy of Janet Kessler from Coyote Yipps

CurbedSF Collects Cute Pics of “Dopey Dogs of Bernal Hill”

Our friends at CurbedSF have collected a lovely set of photos about all the doggies to be found atop Bernal Hill. They write:

If you rent in San Francisco and your rent-control lease specifies no-pets, you too might known the pain of living a pooch-free life. So much so that you’re resorted to petting any dog that passes by and/or visiting dog parks alone just to take pics of other peoples’ pups. Which isn’t creepy at all.

Abate your puppy pangs with this series of shots atop Bernal Hill. The Bernal Heights summit is noted for being the place in San Francisco to take your dog.

And from there, a great deal of cuteness ensues.

Colorful Sunrise Bathes Bernal in Magical Light

From my home in the North Bernal lowlands, I noticed this morning that the sunrise was creating some fiery orange reflections on the glass of a few downtown high-rises.

It was a lovely scene, but from his vantage point in Noe Valley,  Bernalspotter Christopher Baker had an even more glamorous view of this morning’s colorful sunrise — because it highlighted us.

Welcome to the new week, Bernal Heights!

PHOTO: Courtesy of Christopher Baker